What is Reasonable Care in Premises Liability

Premises liability is an important aspect of personal injury law that directly affects property owners, managers, and occupants. It determines their legal responsibility for injuries or accidents on their property. To prevent such incidents and protect themselves from potential legal claims, property owners must exercise what is known as "reasonable care."

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The Concept Of Reasonable Care

In the context of premises liability, "reasonable care" refers to the level of care expected of a property owner to create a safe environment for visitors. The goal is to minimize the risk of accidents, injuries, or mishaps on your property. As a property owner, you are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of visitors.

To determine reasonable care, courts usually consider factors such as:

  • The nature and purpose of the property
  • The foreseeability of potential hazards or risks
  • The cost and feasibility of security measures
  • The prevailing safety standards of the industry or community

As a property owner, you must know your duty of care and adhere to these standards to avoid being found negligent.

Standard Of Care For Different Visitor Types

The degree of care a property owner must exercise may vary depending on the visitor category. In general, visitors can be divided into three categories:

  1. Invitees: These are visitors who have received an express or implied invitation from the property owner, usually for business purposes, such as customers in a store. You must take the utmost care with invited visitors by actively inspecting and maintaining the premises to avoid hazards.
  2. Licensees: These are guests who enter your property with your permission but without business intentions, such as friends or neighbors. You owe licensees a slightly lower duty of care. You should warn them of known dangers, but you are not obliged to control the property actively.
  3. Trespassers: These are people who enter your property without permission. As the property owner, you have a minimal duty of care toward trespassers, which mainly consists of not intentionally causing damage or setting traps.

When dealing with visitors, remember your duty of care and the standard of care required for different types of visitors. By maintaining a safe environment and exercising reasonable care, the risk of accidents or injuries on your property can be minimized, ultimately reducing liability for your property.

Responsibilities Of Property Owners

The owner or occupier of a property has a legal duty to ensure that the premises are safe for visitors and guests. This duty includes taking reasonable care in maintaining the property and taking appropriate measures to prevent damage. Below are some important aspects of this legal duty:

  • Regular Inspection: You should regularly inspect your property to identify potential hazards or unsafe conditions, such as slippery floors, unstable structures, or inadequate lighting.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Once you have identified a problem, you should rectify it immediately by doing the necessary repairs or taking appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Warning of Concealed Dangers: If hidden hazards on your property cannot be removed immediately, you must warn visitors, e.g., through signs or verbal messages.
  • Adequate Security Measures: Depending on the nature of your property, you may need to introduce security measures like surveillance cameras, locks, or security guards to protect visitors from potential harm.

It's important to note that the level of reasonable care required may vary depending on the type of visitors to your property. Below is a brief overview of the categories of visitors and the associated legal duties:

  • Invitees: These are people who enter your property for business purposes or other mutual benefits. You owe your guests the highest level of care by providing a safe environment and warning them of potential dangers.
  • Licensees: Licensees enter your property for social or recreational reasons, such as visiting friends or family. You must take reasonable care to avoid conditions conducive to injury and inform licensees of any known hazards.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers are people who enter your property without permission. While you do not owe them the same duty of care as guests or licensees, you must refrain from willfully or wantonly causing them harm.

Common Conditions Leading To Premises Liability Lawsuits

While every premises liability claim is different, the vast majority of these lawsuits arise from one of a few similar circumstances. Below are some of the more common conditions that can lead to a premises liability claim:

  • Uneven or slippery surfaces: Ensure sidewalks, stairs, and floors are free of tripping and slipping hazards.
  • Poor lighting: Properly light walkways, stairs, and parking lots to prevent accidents.
  • Inadequate security: Provide adequate security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable criminal activity.
  • Debris or Obstacles: Remove obstructions, debris, or clutter from pathways and common areas.
  • Faulty equipment: Regularly inspect and repair any equipment or structures that guests or licensees may come into contact with.

Eliminating these potential hazards and taking reasonable care in maintaining your property can significantly reduce the likelihood of incidents and injuries. Remember that your duties as an owner are critical to ensuring the safety of those entering your property.

Types Of Injuries And Complications

Different types of injuries can be sustained on a property due to negligence or lack of care. Slip and fall accidents are quite common and can be caused by slippery surfaces or any obstacle on a walkway. In fact, more than two million people are injured yearly due to falls on slick surfaces.

Other common accidents involve hazardous conditions such as uneven floors, broken stairs, or exposed electrical wires, which could lead to:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Neck & back injuries from tripping over objects
  • Electrocution from exposed wires
  • Swimming pool accidents & drowning
  • Accidents caused by poorly maintained infrastructure

In addition, when property owners don’t take adequate security precautions, injuries can occur as a result of:

  • Assaults or robberies due to poor lighting or lack of security personnel
  • Accidents caused by inadequate protection from hazardous substances
  • Injuries caused by unauthorized entry into restricted areas

If you have suffered damage on someone else's property, you may be able to file a liability claim to recover compensation. Compensation can cover a range of costs, such as:

  • Medical bills: Reimbursement for immediate and ongoing medical treatment related to your injury.
  • Economic damages: Compensation for lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and other economic losses.
  • Pain and suffering: The monetary value of the physical and emotional pain you have suffered due to your injury.
  • Wrongful death: Compensation for the family members of a deceased victim who died as a result of the injury on the property.

The compensation you can receive will depend on the extent of your injury and the degree of negligence of the property owner.

Speak To An Injury Attorney About Your Claim

If you were injured while on someone else’s property and believe you have a premises liability claim, contact Weinstein Legal Team immediately for a free case review with an injury attorney. Your consultation is free, and we work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay any fees unless we win your case.

Your attorney will document the incident and your injuries, gather evidence to prove your claims, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for you in court if necessary.

Click here to schedule a free case review with an attorney today, or give us a call at 888.626.1108 to get started now.

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